Austria's far-right politicians target Muslim institutions with new law

Published 27.09.2019 00:56

The Austrian parliament accepted Wednesday a resolution that proposes shutting down "Islamist associations" if they were found to be involved in "unlawful practices."

Interestingly the same parliament had earlier rejected a resolution against the neo-Nazi Identitarian Movement.

The assembly discussed various resolutions to fight extremism as it gathered for the last time before Sunday's elections.

The resolution, submitted by a small opposition party Jetzt (Now), was backed by the center-right Austrian People's Party (OVP) and the far-right, populist Freedom Party (FPO).

The parliament also discussed the closure of the neo-Nazi Identitarian Movement. The radical organization has carried out several racist attacks against Islamic institutions and was found to have links to the Australian terrorist who killed 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. That resolution, however, did not pass.

This is not the first time the Austrian government has drawn attention with its anti-Islamic acts. It previously banned the hijab in primary schools and shut down mosques.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's far-right government shut down last year seven mosques and expelled the imams.

Kurz said an investigation by the culture and interior ministries had found the activities of seven mosques, including one run by the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB), to be unlawful.

However, the court annulled the government's decision to close the mosques.

Austria has roughly 600,000 Muslim inhabitants, most of whom are Turks or of Turkish origin.

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